Since the 1990s, the flipper knife has gained increasing popularity in the U.S. and elsewhere. There are many reasons for this increase.
The flipping mechanism could be considered one of the more significant knife innovations in the past 50 years.Most of the top knife makers, from Allen Elishewitz to Zero Tolerance, have released great flipper offerings in the past few years. They have built on the early designs with features like thumb studs and thumb holes, and, of course, the choice between having an assisted or manual opener is an important decision when looking at a knife.
Flipper knives are now the best option for many activities, and here are some reasons why.
Possibly the most important feature of flipper knives is the balance they strike between being practical and easy to carry while also being slightly more restrained than knives that deploy very easily.
At the latter extreme, switchblades (putting legality aside) and similar models can be too easy to open and, in some cases, pose a safety risk.
At the other end of the scale, fixed blade knives are harder to carry discreetly and are more uncomfortable in most cases. Flipper knives offer a happy medium: They are easy enough but not too easy to open, while also being more compact and lighter than a fixed blade knife.
Unlike other openers, knives with a flipper located along the spine can also add another dimension of safety since it is possible to open the knife with your fingers well clear of the blade, preventing any possible injuries.
Nowadays, knifemakers have put a lot of effort into making sure their designs use the fewest number of parts possible to make for more durable knives. Some out-the-front designs are inherently more prone to breakage, so, if you’re looking for a quickly deployable opener, then, in most cases, flipper knives will be a more durable option.
In survival situations, if the spring on an automatic opening knife is compromised, it can, in most cases, make the knife unusable, while if there is a spring that stops working in a flipper knife, it can still be functional for use with a bit more work needed for opening. This makes flipper knives a good option for challenging and survival situations.
Compared to fixed-blade full-tang knives, flipper knives offer less in terms of durability but are generally much lighter. This can make a big difference for those on long hikes or looking to streamline their everyday carry setup. Making lighter-weight choices for all your gear in your pack can really add up if you’re hauling out a moose carcass from the backwoods, and, in keeping with this move toward lighter gear, a flipper can be just what you need.
One of the motivations for designing flipper knives was to comply with laws regarding assisted opening functions. Owning a switchblade has been illegal for a long time, in most states, and carrying a switchblade is illegal in even more. Interstate carry or distribution of several types of knives is a tricky issue, too. Most flipper knives offer quick and easy opening while also adhering to legal requirements. This makes them a more convenient option, especially if you will be carrying them on trips across state boundaries.
5. Portability and Convenience
Whether for hunting, survival, everyday tasks, or any of the many other uses for a good knife, it is important for a knife to be convenient and easy to carry. Flipper knives are great in this regard, like other folding knives, since they are safe, secure, and compact when in the closed position. Folders can easily fit in your pocket or on your belt, or get thrown in a bag or in a car trunk without needing to be concerned about them posing a risk.
But, unlike other folders, flipper knives can be deployed easily and quickly, making them better for security or heavy-duty tasks when you might need to open them one-handed. Field-dressing, bushcraft, or manual tasks can be made much easier with the help of a good flipper—especially if it has a good locking mechanism. A good flipper will be versatile, durable, and safe.
In many ways, flippers offer the best aspects of many types of knife. They can be deployed quickly and safely—usually one-handedly. They can be stored and carried safely since they are folding knives. They are generally lighter than fixed-blade full-tang knives and should not create any legal concerns like other assisted openers would.
For these reasons, flippers are the versatile knives of choice for many people, whether for outdoor pursuits, security, or just as a useful tool. While classic knives like the Bowie have stood the test of time, it’s great to see the increasingly impressive innovations and improvements that are being achieved with flipper knives.